This sounds stupid, but does an MRI scan affect your body like that?


I'm feeling confused at the moment and although I know I probably sound really dumb, here goes anyway...

I'm not yet entirely sure what I have as doctors keep testing and not diagnosing but it's most probably some form of inflammatory arthritis ( sero -negative). I have been on holiday for two weeks and could really relax and rest lots so felt really well this weekend wondering if the MRI scheduled for yesterday would show up anything as I didn't hurt at all.

During the procedure they imaged both my feet and my pelvis and lower back, nothing else although I have had more symptoms in my hands and elbows and lately my knees. But I guess it's probably expensive and the doctor had to make a decision about it ages ago when he referred me.

It was hard to keep lying still for the approximately 1.5 hours I was there as my body seemed to want to twitch and spasm but I made it. It felt fine and the worst was the stiffness getting up after lying flat for that time. By that time my knees and elbow were hurting and I was quietly annoyed that I couldn't have them done instead... I felt ok after some time moving around though.

This morning however my whole body aches as if put through a mill. I can only describe it as a feeling similar to muscle soreness after a workout but it's in my bones more than muscles?! My neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, knees, feet, almost everything just feels sore and achy and I walk around gingerly thinking this can't be from the MRI, it's only a magnetic field... But I felt fine before and for almost two weeks had hardly any symptoms. Has anybody got any idea what this could be, please? Xxx

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11 Replies

  • I guess it's not the magnetism of the scan but more having to keep arthritic joints still for a period of time. If I lay still I too would be in agony as I stiffen up. And the muscle thing could be as you are tense having investigations and working hard at staying still whilst on pain, you may feel it today.

    Let's hope it's worth it and they sort out what the problem is quickly x

  • It might be just the fact that you had to stay for so long in the same position in the scanner. Just try staying still for that long at any other time. It must take some self control. An hour and a half must have been hell! I don't think I could do it, especially not with my restless legs! I hope you feel better soon. ToD xx

  • If they were scanning your pelvis (sacroiliac joints) and lumbar spine (lower back) and feet, then my guess is they were checking you out for ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or one of he other forms of spondyloarthritis, which are sero negative arthritis. They do those areas because you need to show inflammation in the sacroiliac area to get a diagnosis of AS, and the lower back, Achilles, and plantar areas of your foot are also very typical places to see spondyloarthritis damage. The achiness after having to be so still and probably lie in an uncomfortable position anyway, is also very typical of spondy which usually is worse for rest and staying still, and feels better better or less stiff after doing some gentle movement. So yes, that kind of stiffness was to be expected, though it would have been just the immobility rather than anything specific about the MRI that caused it. You would likely have got just as stiff if you had to lie anywhere on a hard surface for that length of time.

  • Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I think I remember the doctor who referred me mention spondylitis. It feels wrong to hope I have it but if it means I finally get a diagnosis after a year of back and forth...

  • You were actually being scanned continuously for all of that time?

  • I was thinking the same thing - they must have been doing a far more detailed scan than we get in our area. I had SI, lumbar and thoracic spine done and was only on the table for 20 minutes, but then when I requested the MRI images discovered they had only done less than half the number of images that they did last time (over the same area of my body. Cost cutting methinks, but no wonder nothing much showed up.

  • I'm waiting for a spine MRI and I would not like to be in the tube for over an hour. When I had a kidney one it took about twenty minutes and a head one about fifteen.

  • No it was a case of in and out for about 6 times in all, but I had to lie down for most of it. I only sat up once briefly inbetween the scans as I couldn't bear it much longer and they had to rearrange the set up for the scan anyway

  • Were you in and out in order for them to move the cage that goes over for the different areas they scanned?

  • Yes, that's right. I was in for the lumbar/pelvis scan for quite a while, then out for right foot, out for left foot, out for injection of a contrast drug and back in for left foot, out to change for right foot.

  • Sounds like a Fun Day:-)

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